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close this bookInter-regional project for participatory upland conservation and development - Nepal - Participatory rural appraisal and planning in the Bhusunde Khola watershed from October 1995 to January 1996 (1997)
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View the documentForeword
View the document0. Summary
Open this folder and view contents1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. Methods, sites, organization and analysis
Open this folder and view contents3. Results of the participatory rural appraisal
Open this folder and view contents4. The community action plans
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(introduction...)


D.R. CHAPA, A. POUDYAL, H. QWIST-HOFFMANN, and F.M.J. OHLER

TCO: GCP/INT/542/ITA
Field Document 3/97

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS Gorkha, May 1997

This technical report is one of a series of reports prepared during the course of the project identified on the title page. The conclusions and recommendations given in the report are those considered appropriate at the time of its preparation. They may be modified in the light of further knowledge gained at subsequent stages of the project.

The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this document do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Abbreviations and acronyms


CAP

Community Action Plan

DSC

Department of Soil Conservation

DSCO

District Soil Conservation Office

GDP

Gorkha Development Project

HMG

His Majesty's Government

ICIMOD

International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development

NGO

Non Governamental Organization

PRA

Participatory Rural Appraisal

PUCD

Participatory Upland Conservation and Development Project

RCUP

Resource Conservation and Utilization Project

UMN

United Mission to Nepal

VDC

Village Development Committee

Foreword


Participatory watershed management and development is the core issue of the "Inter-regional Project for Participatory Upland Conservation and Development", GCP/INT/542/ITA. The watershed wide Participatory Rural Appraisal and Planning exercise carried out in the Bhusunde Khola watershed between October 1995 and January 1996, was more than a milestone in the project.

For the first time large scale satisfactory use was made of truly participatory planning methods in the Nepal component of the project. The resulting 26 Community Action Plans were so elaborate and so demanding, that the whole project team has been working flat out during the rest of 1996 and into 1997 in the -participatory- implementation of planned activities.

Little time was left for further analysis and reporting of this most important event during the second phase of the project. Finally, with the level of field activities and other commitments somewhat decreasing in 1997 it has been possible to make a decent report on the 1995/96 PRA. The whole project team has contributed in one form or another in the PRA exercise, and its subsequent analysis and reporting.

However, most important actors of all were the more than 1000 villagers of the Bhusunde Khola watershed that have been directly involved in the PRAs, and who have on the whole been the most enthusiastic supporters of these planning methods. They have since undertaken the accomplishment of most of the more than 220 activities included in the 26 Community Action Plans, some on their own, some with support of the project, and some with support of other agencies or NGOs.

0. Summary


In the period of October 1995 - January 1996 the Inter-regional Project for Participatory Upland Conservation and Development, GCP/INT/542/ITA, carried out a Participatory Rural Appraisal and Planning exercise in 26 communities of the Bhusunde Khola watershed. This was done by trained staff of the project itself. The PRAs generally lasted about 4 days, and resulted in a large number of data generated, as well as 26 Community Action Plans.

This report presents the results of that PRA and planning exercise. It describes methods and tools used and organizational aspects. Data are presented on (a) population and demography, including ethnic composition, literacy rates and local food sufficiency; (b) farming systems and land use, including data on land use categories; (c) crops and agricultural production, cropping patterns, seasonality, trend in productivity, problems and opportunities; (d) livestock and animal husbandry, numbers of animals per household, trends in livestock population, fodder and feed preferences, problems and opportunities; (e) Forests and natural resources, including a summary of soil and water resources problem ares. An overview is presented of the 26 Community Action Plans, which includes more than 220 planned activities.

It is concluded that as an information gathering tool each individual PRA was not very useful, but that the total of 26 PRAs provides satisfactory information. However, the PRA was not meant to be an information gathering exercise, rather to set the stage for participatory planning of development activities. In this respect the PRA and planning exercise was most successful.

Some recommendations are presented indicating the value of the PRA tools used, especially resource mapping and seasonality diagrams, in participatory monitoring and evaluation of the Community Action Plans. It is also recommended to slightly modify the PRA, focussing on user groups to avoid undue dominance by high profile people in the communities.

1.1.1 General

The "Inter-regional Project for Participatory Upland Conservation and Development", GCP/INT/542/ITA (or PUCD project), aims at promoting people's participation in the conservation and development of upland catchments, in accordance with HMG's policies and priorities. The adaptation and application of participatory methods and the promotion of an integrated approach to watershed management are the central elements of the project. The project became operational in the second half of 1 992, and has gone through several participatory rural appraisal and participatory activity planning cycles.

The main project area is the Bhusunde Khola sub-watershed, ranging from 500 -1500 m in altitude, and located in the Middle Hills of Gorkha District. The Bhusunde Khola is a tributary of the Daraundi Khola, which flows into the Marshyangdi River, which joins the Trisuli River. The Bhusunde Khola watershed has a total area of 32 km2, it covers 23 Wards of 4 Village Development Committees (VDCs) and has a population of approximately 12,000. There are no roads in the area and all transport is done on foot.

No recent or detailed maps exist or could be used, except for the 1962 maps prepared by the Surveyor Genera! of India, based on 1:80,000 air photographs taken in 1 957. Thus, planning and implementation of activities has been virtually carried out without any use of maps, air photos or comparative tools. The project has limited financial resources, which do not permit costly investments in more sophisticated Geographic Information Systems(1). Such, however, are normal conditions in large Darts of the country.

1 A G/S database application covering Gorkha District had been prepared in 1995 by ICIMOD for the HMG/GTZ funded Gorkha Development Project (MENRIS Case Studies Series No. 3). However, -apparently- due to operational problems, the GDP project could not make the G/S database available to the PUCD project.

The three main categories of project activities are:

(i) Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and participatory planning (the main subject of this report) and participatory monitoring and evaluation of planned activities;

(ii) Capacity building of user groups, which are the accepted community organizational units through which participatory field activities are implemented; and

(iii) Participatory implementation of field activities identified and requested by local communities through participatory planning methods.

1.1.2 Evolution of the project's participatory development approach

The participatory development approach advocated by the project document needed to be adjusted to the actual field situation and put to practice. This has been a process of trial and error, resulting in a gradual evolution and improvement of actual participatory methods employed. Many problems were encountered, including:

(i) The question of scale, or what should be the smallest territorial unit for participatory planning(2);

2 Most projects assume that the ward (9 wards in a VDC) is the appropriate smallest unit for participatory planning purposes. Experience from the PUCD shows that the "natural village" or hamlet level is more appropriate. Usually 3-5 such hamlets make up a ward.

(ii) The timing, PRAs should be carried out during the slack season of farmers.

(iii) The question of duration, very short PRAs may not provide meaningful information, while very long ones make it hard or impossible for women, poor or otherwise disadvantaged groups to participate.

(iv) The discrepancy between villagers expectations (immediate benefits) and the need to reinforce local community organizations (user groups capacity building) before sustainable results can be achieved;

(v) The wide range of problems confronting villagers as compared to the actual mandate of the project (e.g. the need for education and health services) and the very modest financial means of the project;

(vi) How to involve disadvantaged groups in the decision making process (notably women and certain caste/ethnic groups); and

(vii) How to ensure consistency and continuity between the PRA itself, the participatory activity planning, and the participatory implementation of planned activities.

1.1.3 1992/93 Initial participatory assessment and planning

During field reconnaissance visits at the end of 1992 project staff met with villagers in each VDC area to obtain a list of local priorities for project activities, using the ward level as the basic territorial planning unit. In order to set activities for the first implementation year of the project, these lists were narrowed down to the 3-4 most urgent local priorities. After these visits, a more structured participatory rural appraisal (PRA) was conducted in two hamlets - but this was not related to the participatory planning of activities.

Further meetings were held with ward level villagers representatives in December 1992 to confirm identified and prioritized field activities and modalities for implementation in 1993, and a final session was held with VDC chairpersons and vice-chairpersons. Villagers were urged to form ward lever user groups to implement the agreed upon activities

Most of the selected priority activities were in one way or another directly related to physical works for soil and water conservation and for the rehabilitation of small collective infrastructures :gully and landslide control small scale hill irrigation trail improvement, water source protection/drinking water supply and conservation plantation. These are the usual Department of Soil Conservation activities, well known to the local population from previous experience with the RCUP(3) project.

3 The Resource Conservation and Development Project (RCUP) covered a.o. the Daraunde Khola watershed, and emphasized infrastructure.

1.1.4 1993/94 PRA and participatory planning

During the months of November and December 1993 an NGO, sub-contracted by the project, undertook an extensive participatory appraisal and micro-planning exercise at the hamlet level in 40 different locations of the Bhusunde Khola watershed. Selected tools and techniques of PRA were used to facilitate discussion and gather information, identify problems and possible solutions (activities). However, these PRA and micro-planning exercises were, in fact, rather short and superficial.

The data generated by this exercise were regrouped from hamlet level to ward level by project management. Prioritized problems and related development activities were overwhelmingly construction works (water source protection, trail improvement, small scale hill irrigation), even in villages where people realized that their main problems were related to poverty and food deficits. The relative absence of productive and income generating activities from these workplans can be explained as follows:

(i) The counterpart institution, the Department of Soil Conservation (DSC), has a very technical profile, well known to the local population;

(ii) There is a real need for support and guidance in these technical areas, as no other technical assistance is locally available; and

(iii) The way in which user groups were organized and decisions were made (both male dominated).

Project staff responsible for the implementation of selected field activities had in most cases not taken part in the PRAs and planning exercises, and thus felt little affinity with or responsibility for these plans, which at the same time were more than they could handle.

Due to funding problems related to the extension of the project, most of the activities selected in 1993 could only be implemented in 1995.

1.1.5 1995/96 PRA and participatory planning

The second phase of the project started in September 1 994 with a legacy of unfulfilled expectations and commitments towards communities of the project area. This was the result of artificial group formation early in 1993, a not-so-good participatory planning exercise at the end of 1993, the long bridging period in 1994, and weak project management during the first phase.

New participatory appraisal and planning exercises could only be carried out once the commitments made during the 1 993 PRA were largely fulfilled. Moreover, the project decided to carry out PRA with its own staff, those who have daily contacts with the villagers and would be largely responsible for activity implementation afterwards. To do so, project staff first needed to be further trained in PRA methodology.

It was also decided that participatory appraisal and planning exercises should be carried out at the "natural village" level (e.g. hamlets or groups of small hamlets with 20-80 households), and should have a wider perspective to include a comprehensive appraisal of local resources, land use, farming systems, constraints and opportunities. Thus real communities at the settlement level were used as basic planning units instead of the artificial administrative units (the wards).

Between October 1995 and January 1996 new PRA and participatory activities planning exercises were carried out in 26 hamlets of the Bhusunde Khola watershed. A large part of the more than 200 activities thus identified and prioritized for implementation were in fact carried out in 1 996. At the end of 1 996 a series participatory evaluation and replanning exercises were organized (these will be reported upon in another report).

1.2.1 Objectives of the 95/96 PRA and participatory planning

The main objective of the Participatory Rural Appraisal carried out in the Bhusunde Khola watershed between October 1995 and January 1996 was to improve the understanding of the local communities of their own situation, living conditions and environment in general, and their local resources, land use, farming systems, constraints and opportunities in particular, in order to set the stage for a participatory planning of development activities that would fit into an integrated and participatory watershed management plan.

The main objective of the Participatory Planning carried out together with the PRA was to prepare detailed plans for upland conservation and development activities to be implemented by the local population with the support of the project, and which would form the core of an integrated and participatory watershed management plan.

The secondary objective of the PRA was to provide the project with data concerning population, natural resources, land use and farming systems, their constraints and opportunities, to be used as an information or data base for the integrated and participatory watershed management plan, and against which proposed and implemented activities and their impact could be assessed and evaluated.

Another objective of this PRA and Participatory Planning exercise was to test whether the innovative elements of this PRA as compared to earlier similar activities in the Bhusunde Khola watershed, notably the use of hamlets as smallest territorial planning units (as opposed to wards), and the use of trained project staff (as opposed to outsiders), would be more effective, especially during follow-up and implementation of identified activities.

It should, however, be noted that by definition a PRA will not result in exact measurable data.

1.2.2 Objectives of this report

The objectives of this report are to:

(i) Present the results of the Participatory Rural Appraisal and Planning exercise carried out in the Bhusunde Khola watershed between October 1 995 and January 1996, and provide a basis against which future trends and changes in the watershed can be compared.

(ii) Assess the quality and quantity of the PRA exercise; and

(iii) Assess the consistency of the activities planned with the results of the PRA.

(iv) Assess the value of the PRA tools used.

2.1.1 PRA training

When it was decided in mid-1995 to organize a new revised round of PRAs and Participatory Planning in selected sites of the Bhusunde Khola watershed, it was also agreed that it would be preferable to train project staff in PRA methods and techniques, and that trained project staff should be responsible for carrying out these PRAs. This was perceived to have the following advantages:

(i) Capacity building of the DSC, institutionalizing knowledge and skills essential in effective participatory working methods;

(ii) Increase the affinity of the project staff with the plans produced, and an expected improvement in commitment to implement these plans; and

(iii) Cost reduction as compared to PRAs carried out by sub-contracting NGOs.

A 7-day PRA training course was organized from 10-16 October 1995. The training course was held in the Bhusunde Khola watershed and was conducted under sub-contract by the NGO "New ERA". The 20 participants included 13 project staff (5 group promoters, 2 motivators, 5 mid-level technicians and 1 mid-level administrative support staff) as well as 7 representatives from other line agencies(4). Tools and techniques included in the training were:

4 See also Field Document 2/96, "A training report on participatory rural appraisal (PRA) methodology (including socio-economic information of the Tutunga village of Chhoprak VDC, Gorkha District, Nepal)", prepared by New ERA.

(a) Time-line, Ethno-history and Seasonal Diagram for time related data;

(b) Mapping (social, enterprise, topography and hydrology) and Transects (historical, nalla and agro-ecological) for spatial data;

(c) Diagramming (pie, Venn and trend) for quantitative data;

(d) Preference or verbal ranking, matrix ranking and wealth ranking

(e) Use of secondary data;

(f) Semi-structured interview;

(g) Observation; and

(h) Triangulation and cross-checking for reliability.

The training was remarkably successful since it enabled the project staff to independently complete a large number of additional PRAs.

2.1.2 Common resource and user group inventory

Between September and December 1995 a systematic Common Resource and User Group Inventory was carried out in the whole Bhusunde Khola watershed by the National Expert Local Capacity Building, Mr. D.R. Chapa, assisted by Mr. Chalitra Joshi and the local Group Promoters. The objectives of this inventory were to:

(i) Identify all existing and potential user groups, their nature (e.g forest user group, women group), size, past and on-going activities, training received, and financial situation.

(ii) Identify all common resources, notably forest, water and pasture, that could benefit from management, conservation or development activities through existing or newly to be formed user groups.

The data provided by the inventory were extremely relevant for the capacity building of user groups: it identified many inactive groups, as well as promising newly formed groups (especially women groups). The resulting database, which is periodically updated, is primarily used by the National Expert Local Capacity Building and the Group Promoters.

The Common Resource and User Group Inventory was in many ways similar to, and could be part of reconnaissance visits. It was so relevant for the further PRA process that it should actually be seen as integral part of the participatory development itinerary:

(a) The inventory provided detailed field knowledge that enabled the project to identify and select appropriate sites (hamlets or groups of hamlets) of more or less homogeneous communities for PRA and participatory planning;

(b) The inventory helped to identify key-informants, as well as local social infra-structure (existing credit schemes, presence of line agencies, NGOs, etc.);

(c) During the actual PRAs the farmers enthusiasm grew when they noticed that the PRA teams already knew much about their village and its resources, and it also helped in the preparation and interpretation of the participatory maps.

(d) It facilitated relations with villagers, who interpreted the detailed knowledge of the PRA teams as a proof of genuine interest in improving the living conditions in their village.

2.1.3 PRA methods and tools used

A full fledged PRA can take a very substantial period of field work and analysis to complete. The scheduled duration and the actual PRA methods and tools used, depend on the objectives of the PRA exercise. In this case, the main objective was clearly to enhance the participatory planning process. Furthermore, it should be noted that in a number of sites this was not the first PRA exercise.

It was essential to involve all relevant parties in the PRA and planning process in each of the selected villages. Consequently, the size of the communities where PRAs were to be conducted was small, usually between 30 to 80 households, and the duration of the PRAs was limited, especially to allow women to fully take part in the exercise. Typically the PRA itself took about two full days, while a third day was devoted to data analysis and compilation for a feed-back presentation during the fourth day, which was further devoted to participatory activity planning.

The actual PRA methods and tools used and recorded in most of the PRA sites include:

1. Time Line, which provided information on ethno-history, and history of forest, cropping systems, livestock, and issues like major landslides.

2. Transects, generated agro-ecological data and provided good occasions for the identification of problems and the discussion of opportunities.

3. Mapping exercises included Resource and Social Maps. The resource maps were often quite detailed, and could be used later in impact evaluation and re-planning exercises.

4. Wealth ranking was usually based on food sufficiency of the individual households, it thus provided additional information on food security in the watershed.

5. Seasonality Diagram were used for rainfall, cropping patterns, fodder use and availability, food availability, busy farming days, milk production, animal diseases and expenditures. The most valuable data revolve around the cropping patterns and busy farm days, since these data were found to be essential in the detailed planning of activities implementation.

6. Pie Charts were used to illustrate population (gender and ethnic composition), literacy data, livestock herd composition, land use, cropping patterns (types of crop per land type, or per season, varieties of paddy, maize and wheat), forest types, fuelwood supply sources and sanitary habits.

7. Trend Diagrams were used for population, literacy rates, crop production (different crops), livestock numbers, forest area, erosion problems and attitudes towards community organizations.

8. Matrix Ranking was used for crop varieties and fodder trees.

2.1.4 Participatory planning methods and tools used

Before starting the actual participatory planning of activities, the results of the PRA generated data are presented to the community for verification and comments in a feedback or restitution meeting. This is also the starting point of the Village Planning Workshops, during which the following exercises were carried out, resulting in the formulation of a Community Action Plan:

1. Verbal ranking of problems and opportunities, during which a list of problems and opportunities is drawn up (ideally this list should closely reflect the results of the presentation of the PRA data);

2. Prioritization of problems and opportunities, which consists of a broad discussion and reshuffling of the listed problems and opportunities;

3. Listing of activities, based on the prioritized problem and opportunity list; and

4. Prioritization of activities, based on the listed activities and a broad discussion on actual possibilities to carry out such activities.

5. Delegation of responsibility, or WHO should do WHAT.

2.2.1 Site selection

The following site selection criteria were utilized to decide where PRAs should take place within the Bhusunde Khola watershed.

(i) It had earlier been proposed that the project should concentrate its activities in a particular area or sub-watershed, in order do be more effective in this area and provide an attractive model for replication. For practical reasons (accessibility and distance from the project Base Camp facilities in Chorkate), it was decided in 1995 that the Wards No. 7, 8 and (parts of) 9 of Chhoprak VDC would be designated as project concentration area. Consequently, it was decided that this concentration area should be fully covered by PRAs (with the exception of point iii).

(ii) The rest of Chhoprak VDC, and the three other VDCs of the Bhusunde Khola watershed, Ampipal, Harmi and Khoplang, would also have to be fairly represented in the PRAs and planning of activities. This to fulfil the project mandate, to continue the participatory development partnership and development efforts, and to avoid political problems. However, it was agreed to minimize PRA sites in these areas as far as acceptable(5).

5 In fact, the number of actual PRAs carried out was larger than intended because being left-out was not acceptable for several communities outside the concentration area.

(iii) Within the overall watershed area primary attention should be on the villages on the slopes and ridges, rather than those along the river in the valley.

Based on these criteria a number of sites were selected for PRA and planning. However, during the course of the PRA exercise a number of communities that had not been selected strongly urged the PRA field teams to also include their communities, which was sometimes difficult to refuse.

2.2.2 Team formation

The overall lead in the PRAs was taken by the National Expert Local Capacity Building, Mr. D.R. Chapa. It was decided to form relatively small PRA teams, each led -preferably- by one of the project mid-level technicians that participated in the October 1995 PRA training. These teams would than also consist of a (female) group promoter, equally trained in PRA, plus one or two other persons, either support staff, or interested and PRA-trained technicians from other line agencies.

The following persons took part in the PRA field work: D.R. Chapa (National Expert and PRA coordinator); M.L. Joshi, T.B. Shrestha, I.J. Thapa, H.R. Khanal (mid-level technicians/area facilitators); Ms. D. Lamsal, Ms. N. Bhattarai, Ms. K. Pokharel, Ms. S. Ghimire, Ms. I. Marahatta, Ms. S. Pokharel (group promoters/motivators); N. Maskey, Ch. Joshi, Ph. Pokharel, H.R. Pokharel, N. Hada (other support staff); as well as R.B. Kunwar from the District Agriculture Office and K.P. Bhattarai from the District Livestock Services.

2.2.3 Venues and timing

PRA and planning was carried out in 26 sites between October 1995 and January 1996 (see Table 1 and Figure 1).

The total number of project days (not staff days) spent was 97, and the average duration of the PRAs was 3.9 days per site.

2.3.1 Analysis

These 26 PRAs provided an overwhelming amount of raw information. They also provided a list of more than 200 activities that were prioritized for implementation in the Community Action Plans - though some would later be rejected following feasibility and other criteria. High levels of expectations were raised in the watershed, and the limited project resources had to be fully mobilized to assist the local communities in the implementation of their Community Action Plans, and data analysis had to be postponed. Similarly analysis efforts were more focussed on the Community Action Plans and their feasibility than on the background data provided by the PRAs. A Community Action Plan computerized database (in Excell) was set up by Ms. H. Qwist-Hoffmann, Associate Professional Officer Watershed Management.

Table 1. 1995/96 Bhusunde Khola watershed Participatory Rural Appraisal and planning sites, dates, duration and teams involved.


Ward

Site

Dates

Days

Team

Ampipal

5

Ratdanda


3

I.J. Thapa


6

Simpani


3

T.B. Shrestha


7

Simpani Hatiya


3

T.B. Shrestha


9

Darmichaur


4

T.B. Shrestha

Chhoprak

1

Chitre


4

Ch. Joshi


2

Chiuribot
Thumki
Amarai


1
3
3

Ch. Joshi
T.B. Shrestha
T.B. Shrestha


3

Katarbari


4

T.B. Shrestha


4

Salbot


4

T.B. Shrestha


5

Faudargaon


3

I.J. Thapa


7(a)

Majhgaon
Bawaligaon


4
4

I.J. Thapa
D.R. Chapa


8(a)

Tutunga
Jaisithok
Firfire
Arubote/Mathure

13-16/10/95

4
3
3
4

I.J. Thapa
I.J. Thapa
D.R. Chapa
T.B. Shrestha


9(a)

Katubanse


5

M.L. Joshi

Harmi

3

Harmi Bhanjang


4

D.R. Chapa


6

Nawalpur
Ghimiregaon


4
4

D.R. Chapa
D.R. Chapa

Khoplang

1

Suntale
Falamkhani


4
4

T.B. Shrestha
Ch. Joshi


4

Belbas
Kolkate
Khurpajung


5
5
5

M.L. Joshi
M.L. Joshi
M.L. Joshi

a Project Concentration Area within the Bhusunde Khola watershed.


Figure 1. Bhusunde Khola watershed and the PRA locations

Initial efforts to analyze PRA data were made by Mr. D.R. Chapa and Mr. Ch. Joshi, but they had to abandon their efforts because of lack of time. Finally, the project management recognized that specific competent assistance would have to be sought to analyze the data generated in order to systematize and present the results of the PRAs. This was done during a five week period in January and February 1 997 by the National Consultant Mr. Ashok Poudyel, assisted by Ms. H. Qwist-Hoffmann and Mr. N. Maskey.

A large part of the work consisted of the screening of all available information for actually valid data. Subsequently all valid data were systematically grouped and analyzed. At the end of his rather short assignment, the National Consultant provided the first draft/rough outline of the re-grouped and analyzed PRA data.

2.3.2 Reporting

In April 1997 the CTA, Mr. F.M.J. Ohler and the APO, Ms. H. Qwist-Hoffmann, agreed to gather all existing and presentable information concerning the 1995/96 PRA and planning exercise in order to present the results in a Field Document that would focus on both the results of the PRA itself (i.e. detailed descriptions of the watershed), and of the participatory planning (i.e. the Community Action Plans).

This would then also permit to assess the quality and quantity of the PRA exercise, as well as of the consistency of the Community Action Plans with the results of the PRA.

The original PRA data, such as maps and diagrams, will be presented separately as an appendix to this report.

3.1.1 Population, community and household size

The 26 PRA sites located within the Bhusunde Khola watershed and spread over 4 VDCs (Ampipal, Chhoprak, Harmi and Khoplang), did not actually cover the whole watershed (see para. 2.2.1). The total population of the Bhusunde Khola watershed has been estimated at 12,000 persons, but precise data are not available.

The total population of the villages and hamlets covered by the 26 PRAs was reported to be 8,851 persons, of which 4,554 (51 %) were male and 4,297 (49%) female (see Table 2). However, it should be noted that the actual number of persons and households in the 26 PRA communities may be more than the number reported. In Majghaon (Chhoprak #7), for instance, a significantly larger number of households was reported in a Participatory Evaluation and Replanning exercise that took place in October 1996.

The total number of households was 1,566 and the average family size 5.7 persons.

The size of the PRA communities(6) varied from 95 persons in Chiuribot (Chhoprak #2) to 620 in Ratdanda (Ampipal #5) with an average of 340.

6 A PRA community consists of one ore more hamlets, forming a natural community as recognized by the inhabitants themselves.

The number of households per PRA community varied from 18 in Chiuribot (Chhoprak #2) to 122 in Ratdanda (Ampipal #5), with and average of 60.

The average family size ranged from 4.8 persons per household in Harmi Banyang (Harmi #3) to 8.4 in Katubanse (Chhoprak #9) (see Table 2).

The percentage of women of all age groups in the communities varied from 44% in Amarai (Chhoprak #2) to 56 in Harmi Bhanjang (Harmi #3).

3.1.2 Ethnic and caste composition

The Bhusunde Khola communities are highly diversified in terms of caste and ethnicity. High caste Brahmin, mid-caste Chhetri, Bhujel, Newar, Gurung, Yogi, Baram and Kunal, and low-caste Kami, Damai and Sarki, as well as non-Hindu (and non-Buddhist) Miya and Muslim families live more or less inter-mixed in the watershed (see Table 3.)


Table 2. Population size, number and size of households in the 26 PRA communities of the Bhusunde Khola watershed.


Table 3. Caste/ethnic composition of the population of the 26 PRA Communities in the Bhusunde Khola watershed, expressed in numbers of households.


Figure 2A. Ethnic composition 26 PRA communities' households


Figure 2B. Ethnic composition Ghimiregaon (Harmi #6) households


Figure 2C. Ethnic composition Kolkate (Khoplang #4) households


Figure 2D. Ethnic composition Khurpajung (Khoplang #4) households


Figure 2E. Ethnic composition Salbot (Chhoprak #4) households


Figure 2F. Ethnic composition Katubanse (Chhoprak #9) households

However, it should be noted that where not all households in certain communities had been reported (para 3.1.1.), the caste composition of the missing households was significantly different from the reported households(7).

7 It has been found that certain disadvantaged ethnic groups, such as Sarki, Kami and Damai, need specific attention in PRA and planning exercises, to ensure their actual participation.

About 51 % of all households reported upon (i.e. 1,412 households) are Brahmins (Figure 2A). There is not a single community without Brahmin households. Some communities consist almost entirely of Brahmin (Figure 2B), with the highest concentration in Chhoprak #2, with Chiuribot, Amarai and Thumki, with respectively 100%, 100% and 81% of the households. Brahmin make up less than 20% of the households in: Katubanse (Chhoprak #9), 2%; Chitre (Chhoprak #1), 3%; Kolkate (Khoplang #4), 6%; Khurpajung (Khoplang #4), 7%; and Salbot (Chhoprak #4), with 14%.

Chhetri are the second most important group, representing 13% of the households. They were found to be living in 13 out of 25 PRA communities with valid data. Kolkate in Khoplang #4 (Figure 2C), Simpani Hatiya (Ampipal #7), and Belbas (Khoplang #4) have the highest concentration of Chhetri households: 60%, 41 % and 38% respectively.

Sarki (cobblers) are the third most numerous group, with a share of 10% of the reported households. Sarki can be found in 13 out of 25 PRA communities. Their largest concentration is in Khurpajung, where they represent 51% of the households (Figure 2D).

Gurung make up 5% of all households. They live more in clusters: 80% of all Gurung households can be found in Salbot (Chhoprak #4) and Chitre (Chhoprak #1), where they make up 81% and 44% of the households (Figure 2E).

Kami (blacksmith) also make up 5% of all households. Their highest concentrations are in Chitre (Chhoprak #1) and Katarbari (Chhoprak #3), with 33% and 14% of the households.

Of all households 4% are Bhujel. They live throughout the watershed with one concentration in Kolkate (Khoplang #4), where the make up 30% of the households.

Newar, with 3% of all households, have only been reported in 3 PRA sites. They consist of 31% and 15% of the households of Khurpajung (Khoplang #4) and Simpani Hatiya (Ampipal #7).

Kumal, also with 3% of all households, have only been reported in Katubanse (Chhoprak #9), where they make up 86% of all households (Figure 2F).

Other interesting concentrations of particular caste/ethnic groups are in: Katarbari (Chhoprak #3), which consists for 41 % of Baram households; Tutunga (Chhoprak #8) and Belbas (Khoplang #4), which have 21% and 16% Yogi households;

Nawalpur (Harmi #6), with 17% Miya households; and Majhgaon (Chhoprak #7), with 9% Thakuri households.

3.1.3 Literacy

In all the PRA communities, the sum of the number of literate and illiterate people exactly matches with the total population. Thus, while generating data on literacy, the PRA participants must have included even children below five years of age. Data on literacy per age group, which would have been more useful, were not provided.

The reported total literacy rate is on average 59%, and varies from 34 % in Khurpajung (Khoplang #4) to 81 % in Amarai (Chhoprak #2} (see Table 4).

Male literacy rates average 69%. Communities with male literacy rates below 50% are: Chitre (Chhoprak #1), with 48%; and Khurpajung (Khoplang #4), with 49%. Communities with particularly high male literacy rates are: Faudargaon (Chhoprak #5), Chiuribot (Chhoprak #2), Harmi Bhanjang (Harmi #3} and Amarai (Chhoprak #2) with 82%, 84%, 84% and 89% respectively.

Female literacy rates average 48%. Communities with very low female literacy rates include: Khurpajung (Khoplang #4), Chitre (Chhoprak #1), Kolkate (Khoplang #4) and Katarbari (Chhoprak #3), with 17%, 23%, 27% and 28% each. Relatively high female literacy rates can be found in: Harmi Bhanjang (Harmi #3), 73%; and Amarai (Chhoprak #2}, with 71%.

There would seem to be a relation between caste/ethnic composition and literacy rate of communities. High percentages of Brahmin households coincide with high literacy rates, in particular male literacy rates. Thumki (Chhoprak #2), with 81% Brahmin households (para 3.1.2) has a female literacy rate of only 35%. This apparent relation between (some of the) caste/ethnic groups and (II) literacy is probably caused by both cultural values and socio-economic status (para 3.1.4).

3.1.4 Socio-economic status and food sufficiency

In the watershed, household food sufficiency, defined as the number of months per year that a household can feed itself from self-produced food (grain) resources, is commonly used as a wealth and socio-economic status ranking tool. Food sufficiency is not the only indicator of wealth. Ownership of various assets valued by villagers, and various sources of income are also important criteria. However, in 25 out of the 26 PRA sites wealth ranking and food sufficiency were combined, using the following categories:

1. All-year-round (ten months and above) food sufficient households, considered "wealthy"; sizable land holding, marketable surplus of agriculture products, possessing land or house in other town or village, alternative sources of income, higher rate of income than normal expenditures.

2. Seven to Nine months food sufficient households, considered "medium class"; one or two persons in the family hold jobs (services), no indebtedness, subsistence income.

3. Four to six months food sufficient households, considered "lower medium class"; big family size, limited number of income sources, indebtedness and sale of livestock.

4. Three months or less (less than four months) food sufficient households, considered "poor"; limited or no arable land, no alternative income sources, limited number of livestock, labour as the major source of income.


Table 4. Literacy status of the population of the 26 PRA communities in the Bhusunde Khola watershed.


Table 5. Food sufficiency situation of peasant households in 26 PRA communities of the Bhusunde Khola watershed, expressed in months of food grain self-sufficiency.


Figure 3A. Literacy Male literacy 25 PRA communities


Figure 3B. Literacy Male literacy in Amarai (Chhoprak #2)


Figure 3C. Literacy Male literacy in Chitre (Chhoprak #1)


Figure 3D. Literacy Female literacy in 25 PRA communities


Figure 3E. Literacy Female literacy in Harmi Bh. (Harmi #3)


Figure 3F. Literacy Female literacy in Khurpajung (Khop.#4)


Figure 4A. Household food sufficiency Total of 25 PRA communities


Figure 4B. Household food sufficiency Firfire (Chhoprak #8) households


Figure 4C. Household food sufficiency Khurpajung (Khoplang #4) households

Of all 1459 reported upon households, only 301, or 21 % fell in the "wealthy" category of 10 or more months food sufficiency. About 29% of households were 7-9 months food sufficient or medium class, and another 27% were 4-6 months food sufficient or lower medium class, 23% of households had only 3 months or less food sufficiency and is considered very poor. Only half of the households have more than six months food sufficiency (see Table 5 and Figure 4A).

Firfire (Chhoprak #8) had the highest rate of fully food sufficient households, 73% (Figure 4B). This is quite exceptional, Katubanse (Chhoprak #9) has the second highest rate of fully food sufficient households, with only 38%.

Only 10 out of 25 PRA communities reported to have more than 50% households. with more than 6 months food sufficiency, notably: Firfire (Chhoprak #8), 86%; Simpani (Ampipal #6), 75%; and Tutunga (Chhoprak #8), with 71%. PRA communities with very high rates of households with 6 months or less food sufficiency include: Khurpajung (Khoplang #4), 75% (Figure 4C); Darmichaur (Ampipal #9), 68% and Kolkate (Khoplang #4), with 66%.

Several PRA communities report little or no households with less than 4 months food sufficiency: Simpani (Ampipal #6}, 0%; Jaisithok (Chhoprak #8), 0%; and Katubanse (Chhoprak #9), with 0%. Some other PRA communities have very high rates of households with less than 4 months food sufficiency: Khurpajung (Khoplang #4), 56%; Darmichaur (Ampipal #9), 43%; and Nawalpur (Harmi #6), with 38%.

Some PRA communities have almost all households in the middle categories of 4 -9 months food sufficiency, such as: Jaisithok and Tutunga (both in Chhoprak #8), with 89% and 85% of households respectively.

The relation between cast/ethnic composition and wealth/food sufficiency status of a community is not so obvious, though there definitely seem to be links. The villages with the highest percentages of very poor households, Khurpajung, Darmichaur and Nawalpur, all have a relatively high percentage of occupational casts (Sarki, Kami and Damai), who usually have little and low quality land. These villages also have relatively low percentages of Brahmin households. However, several villages with very high percentages of Brahmin households are also very poor, notably Thumki (Chhoprak #2), and Ghimirighaon (Harmi #6).

Similarly, there is some evidence for a relation between literacy rates and wealth/food sufficiency.

3.1.5 Sources of income

Although 81 % of all households had serious food deficiency from their farmland, agriculture was considered to be the main source of cash income. This means that there are very low levels of cash earnings in the communities. In five PRA communities a "pie" was used to identify different source of income (Table 6).

Table 6. The percentage of households (of 5 PRA communities) earning cash from various sources of income.

VDC and Ward #

PRA community

Agriculture

Sale of livestock

Production of alcohol

Jobs and services

Labour

Chhop. #2

Chitre

10

10

25

50


Chhop. #9

Katubanse

95

-

-

3

2

Khopl. #4

Belbas

80

-

-

15

5

Khopl. #4

Kolkate

96

-

-

2

2

Khopl. #4

Khurpajung

75

-

-

10

15

3.1.6 Sanitary habits

Regarding sanitary habits, it was found that very few people were using toilets, and most were using the open air fields. Pie charts were used in 6 communities to gather data, which are presented in Table 7.

Table 7. Sanitary habits of people in 6 PRA communities.

Community

Percentage of people using


Toilet

Open field

Simpani Hatiya (Ampipal #7)

56

44

Tutunga (Chhoprak #8)

10

90

Arubote/Mathure (Chhoprak #8)

1

98

Katubanse (Chhoprak #9)

10

90

Belbas (Khoplang #4)

5

95

Khurpajung (Khoplang #4)

50

50

3.2.1 Farming systems overview

The farming systems of the Bhusunde Khola watershed are complex because of the high diversity in agro-ecological aspects, such as land slope, aspect, exposure, altitude, soil type and water availability. Farms typically consist of several small fields, while there are high levels of interaction between different components, including cropland, livestock, forest and water resources (see also Figure 5).

The following main cropping systems can be distinguished:

(i) Irrigated rice (paddy) on level terraces (khet land), usually followed by wheat or maize. In some khet land it is possible to grow two consecutive rice crops;

(ii) Rainfed grain crops on hill slope terraces (bari land) with a high cropping intensity, notably upland rice followed by pulses, or maize followed by millet, mustard, pulses, buckwheat or vegetables.

(iii) Terrace risers and bunds are utilized for growing fuelwood, fodder and fruits, such as banana and citrus.

(iv) Home gardens, usually with fruit and vegetables.

Rice and maize are grown for home consumption, whereas pulses are grown both for home consumption and marketing.

Manure, used animal bedding material (often forest based), kitchen wastes and the like, are utilized to make compost. Compost is prepared and stored in open heaps in the homestead area (there is no traditional practice of making compost pits, the compost made is usually of low quality)(8).

8 Training in improved compost making was included in several of the Community Action Plans.

Cattle, buffaloes and goats are the most important. domesticated animals. Chickens are also raised by all casts, though to a lesser extent by Brahmins. Pigs are raised by some ethnic groups and occupational casts.

Cattle are kept mainly for draft power (ploughing) and the production of manure, cows are also kept for religious purposes. Goats, pigs and chicken are raised both for meat and cash income. They are usually cared for and kept by the women.

Buffaloes are kept for the production of milk and meat (though the Brahmin and Chhetri do not consume buffalo meat), as well as manure. Fluid milk is not much sold due to marketing constraints, and any surplus is converted into ghee (kind of butter) and sold as such. Buffalo bulls (or oxen) are not used for ploughing.


Figure 5. Bhusunde Khola watershed farming systems components and major interactions.

Buffaloes are mainly stallfed, while cattle and goats are taken out for grazing, mostly in winter on the fallow ban' lands. Cut grass is the main fodder used for stallfeeding during the summer, while in winter and spring rice straw and to some extent tree fodder are used. Overall, rice straw is the most important fodder source, and also serves as animal bedding material.

Forest land is used for grazing, and the collection of animal bedding material, fodder, fuelwood, -occasionally- timber, as well as medicinal and other non-wood products. Nutrients are drained from the forest and from non-irrigated fields, and through compost, added to irrigated fields.

Though men own the land, women do most of the farm work. Ploughing fields, lopping tree branches and putting roofs on houses are the main activities done by men. All the other farm work is done mainly by women, though men also contribute. On top of this the women have household chores and raise the children.

There is enough work on the farms to remain busy all year round. However, because only 21 % of the households produce enough food to satisfy their consumption needs, many migrate seasonally (and some permanently) for jobs outside the watershed, especially working age men. This migration, and the fact that children nowadays go to school, further increases the workload of the women. In fact, many households are temporarily or permanently headed by women.

3.2.2 Major land use categories

Khet, Bari, forest and "others" are the main land use types in the Bhusunde Khola watershed, while the different PRA communities have different proportions of these land use types (Table 8):

1. Khet land consists of irrigated level terraces, usually located in the lower part of the valley, where in summer paddy is grown. There are two types of Khet land, Gain' Khet, which has a year round irrigation facility, and Tari Khet, which is (rainfed) seasonally irrigated. Within the PRA communities, on average 31 % of the land is classified as Khet by the villagers. In several communities khet land covers more than 50% of the land, notably in Simpani (Ampipal #6) 83% (Figure 6A), Amarai (Chhoprak #3) 60%, Ratdanda (Ampipal #5), and Salbot (Chhoprak #4) with 58%. Similarly, other communities have very little Khet land, such as Bawaligaun (Chhoprak #7) and Katubanse (Chhoprak #9) with only 5%, while Khurpajung (Khoplang #4) has no Khet land at all.

2. Bari land consists of rainfed cropland, usually terraced, often lightly sloping terraces, usually on the slopes of the valley, with a higher proportion in the upper slopes. Several crops are usually grown throughout the year. Bari land covers on average 47% of the land of the PRA communities and is the largest land use type. In some villages Bari covers more than 70% of the land. Bawaligaon (Chhoprak #7), Jaisithok (Chhoprak #8) and Khurpajung (Khoplang #4) each have about 75% Bari land (Figure 6B), while Simpani (Ampipal #6) and Ghimiregaon (Harmi #6) have only 15% of Bari land.

3. Forest land is usually a common resource, consisting of a natural vegetation, which is heavily utilized for grazing, fuelwood collection, fodder and animal bedding collection, and where timber and poles are harvested. Some of the forests have been handed over as community forests to a Forest User Group and an agreed upon forest management plan. On average the land of the 26 PRA communities included 16% forest land, but there are large variations. Villages such as Tutunga (Chhoprak #8), Arubote/Mathure (Chhoprak #8) and Simpani (Ampipal #G) have no forest land within their community boundaries. On the other hand, some communities have a large proportion of forest land, notably Kolkate (Khoplang #4) 45% (Figure 6C), Suntale (Khoplang #1) 32%, and Chitre (Chhoprak #1) with 30%.

4. Other land includes land covered by settlements, abandoned fields, Kholchi (gully), Kharbari (thatch and grasses), Chaur (grazing land), etc. In some of the PRA communities only Khet, Bari and forest land use types have been used as categories. In 19 communities other categories were also used. Most often reference was made to the settlement area, in which cases the category was included in the Bari land. In these 19 PRA communities the other land category was on average 7%, ranging from 2% in Simpani (Ampipal #6) to 28% in Ghimiregaun (Harmi #6)(Figure 6D). Table 9 provides further detail on the breakdown of other lands per community.

Table 8. Proportional distribution of major land use categories in 26 PRA communities.

VDC and Ward #

PRA community

Proportion of land use types in % per community



Khet land

Bari land

Forest land

Other land

Ampipal 5

Ratdanda

60

30

10

no data

6

Simpani

83

15

0

2

7

Simpani H.

18

50

15

17

9

Darmichaur

49

36

15

no data

Chhoprak 1

Chitre

20

35

30

15

2

Chiuribot

25

40

22

13

2

Thumki

20

75

0

5

2

Amarai

60

25

15

no data

3

Katarbari

20

40

20

20

4

Salbot

58

26

16

no data

5

Faudargaon

37

45

10

8

7

Majhgaon

20

60

15

5

7

Bawaligaon

5

75

15

5

8

Tutunga

40

55

0

5

8

Jaisithok

13

75

5

7

8

Firfire

30

60

10

no data

8

Arubote/Ma

40

60

0

no data

9

Katubanse

5

60

27

8

Harmi 3

Harmi Bh.

50

30

10

10

6

Nawalpur

30

60

2

8

6

Ghimireg.

45

15

12

28

Khoplang 1

Suntale

36

32

32

no data

1

Falmkhani

15

50

17

18

4

Belbas

25

50

20

5

4

Kolkate

10

35

45

10

4

Khurpajung

0

75

20

5


Figure 6A. Proportionate land use Simpani (Ampipal #6)


Figure 6B. Proportionate land use Bawaligaon (Chhoprak #7)


Figure 6C. Proportionate land use Kolkate (Khoplang #4)


Figure 6D. Proportionate land use Ghimiregaon (Harmi #6)

Table 9. Proportional distribution of different types of "other" land use in 19 PRA communities.

VDC and Ward #

PRA community

Proportion of 'other' land use types in % per community



Kharbari

Private forest

Agro forest

Kholchi

Chaur

Settle meant

Total

Ampipal 6

Simpani


2





2

7

Simpani H.




5

5

7

17

Chhoprak 1

Chitre

10





5

15

2

Chiuribot

10





3

13

2

Thumki

5






5

3

Katarbari

20






20

5

Faudargaon

6





2

8

7

Majhgaon






5

5

7

Bawaligaon






5

5

8

Tutunga



4



1

5

8

Jaisithok






7

7

9

Katubanse




7

1


8

Harmi 3

Harmi Bh.

5



5



10

6

Nawalpur

7



1



8

6

Ghimireg.

5



18

5


28

Khoplang 1

Falmkhani





5

13

18

4

Belbas




3

1

1

5

4

Kolkate





5

5

10

4

Khurpajung






5

5

3.2.3 Soil types

During transect walks soil types were identified in 22 PRA communities. Some soil types were identified by colors, some by texture and some by a mix of both of these:

a. Khairo (mato) = Gray (soil)
b. Kalo (mato) = Black (soil)
c. Rato (mato) = Red (soil)
d. Seto (mato) = White (soil)
e. Fusro (mato) = Light colored (soil)
f. Gegrailo (mato) = Gravelly (soil)
g. Balaute (mato) = Sandy (soil)
h. Pango (mato) = Loamy
i. Matailo (mato) = Clay (soil)
j. Chimtailo (mato) = Sticky (soil)
k. Kamero & Seto Chimtailo = White clay
l. Kalo Chimtailo = Black clay

No further details were provided in the PRAs.

3.3.1 Cropping patterns and seasonal activities

As mentioned earlier (3.2.1.), there were three types of cultivated land, Gairi Khet (fully irrigated level terraces); Tari Khet (partially rainfed/irrigated level terraces) and Bari (rainfed terraces). The major crop sequences reported in the PRAs are included in Table 10.

Table 10. Seasonality of the cropping pattern.

Land use category

Months


r.May.Jun.Jul.Aug.Sep.Oct.Nov.Dec.Jan.Feb.Mar.Ap Bai.Jes.Ash.Saw.Bad.Asw.Kar.Man.Pou.Mag.Fag.Cha.

Gairi Khet

judi rice=//= = summer rice= = =//= wheat = = =//= judi rice=//= = summer rice= = =//onion, potato =//= judi rice=//= =summer rice= = =/--- fallow----------//=---fallow---/= = summer rice= = =//= = wheat = = =/-

Tari Khet

/= maize = =//= summer rice= =//= = wheat = = = =/-fallow-/= =summer rice= = = =/------fallow--------------maize =//= = summer rice= = = =//= wheat = =//maize maize =//= = summer rice= = = =//=veget=//= maize

Bari

=maize = = =II= = millet = = = = /------fallow----------- =upland rice= = =//=bl.gr or buck./mustard or fallow = upland rice = = = /------------fallow-------------------------/maize&soya/---soya-------------//= = mustard= = =/----maize&soya/---soya-------------//--------fallow------------/= maize = = =/-----/= = mustard = = = = = = =/--fallow/maize & millet/---millet---------------//= =potato= = = =/------/=millet=/---/= niger= = = =/--veg. or fallow--------/maize= = =/-----/=blackgram= =//=potato= = = =//maize & millet/---millet---------------/----fallow--------------------/=peanuts= = = =/---------/=mustard or veg./-------

Some crops were concentrated in particular PRA communities, such as niger in Salbot (Chhoprak #4), Majhgaon (Chhoprak #7), Katubanse (Chhoprak #9) and Kolkate (Khoplang #4); Paundunge millet (for alcohol production) around Katubanse (Chhoprak #9); and peanuts in Majhgaon (Chhoprak #1}, Tutunga (Chhoprak #8) and Kolkate (Khoplang #4).

Figure 7 provides details regarding month by month rainfall, food availability and workload. When analyzing the different cropping patterns and their seasonality it becomes clear that the farmers of the Bhusunde Khola watershed are very busy throughout the year.

The most busy period is in early summer, at the onset of the rains, from mid-April to July (Baisakh to Asar). During this same period farmers need more cash (for farming inputs), while there food stocks are low or finished. Farmers who manage to grow early rice crops in their Khet land have less food supply problems.

The months of mid-September to mid-November (Aswin - Kartik) and Mid-December to mid-February (Poush - Magh) are relatively less busy. '

3.3.2 Area covered by crops

The cultivated area under various crops in summer and winter was not reported consistently in the PRAs. Though in 7 communities the 'pie tool' was used to draw such information, the results are not clear because they do not separate the summer and winter crops. Therefore, the information provided by the Pie charts was disaggregated by crop and recalculated using the reported percentages of the area covered by various crops in winter and summer. The pie charts presented in Figure 8 present the average percentages of the areas covered by various crops.

Khet land crops in summer consist for 87% of paddy and for 13% of maize, while in winter 61 % lays fallow, 31 % is has a wheat crop, and vegetables are grown on 8%.

Bari land crops in summer consist for 28% of upland rice, 24% of maize, 24% of millet and 23% of blakgram, while in winter 38% lays fallow, 21% has vegetables, 15% mustard and 26% a series of other crops.

3.3.3 Food grain varieties

No information was reported on the area covered by various varieties of food grain crops, except for paddy in 5 PRA communities, Ratdanda (Ampipal #5), (Chhoprak #7), Harmi Bhanjang (Harmi #3), Falamkhani (Khoplang #1) and Belbas (Khoplang #4), using pie charts. Of these data, it is also not clear whether they include upland rice or not. The average percentage of improved variety seed used in paddy in these 5 communities ranged from 25% to 50% and was on average 39%. The main local varieties of paddy are Ampjhute, Ekle and Judi. The improved varieties are mainly Mansuli, Jhapali Mansuli, Radha-9, Radha-7, Sabritri and Khumal-4.


Figure 7A. Seasonality Scenario 1: Khet land dominated


Figure 7B. Seasonality Scenario 2: Bari land dominated


Figure 8A. Crop areas Khet land in summer


Figure 8B. Crop areas Khet land in winter


Figure 8C. Crop areas Bah land in summer


Figure 8D. Crop areas Ban land in winter


Table 11. Matrix preference ranking of paddy varieties in 4 PRA communities.

In maize the main local varieties are Sathiya, Bharati, local yellow and to a lesser extent, local white. Improved maize varieties are mainly Rampur composite, Khumal yellow and Arun. The main improved wheat varieties are RR-21, RR-47 and RR-97.

Matrix ranking tools were used to determine farmers preference for paddy and maize varieties. Of the paddy varieties, Jhapali Mansuli was most preferred -though not in every community-, because of its high yield, it is easy to cultivate, and matures early (see also Table 11).

Among the maize varieties Rampur composite was most preferred because of its high yield. In some communities Khumal was also preferred because of its draught tolerance and satisfactory yield (see also Table 12).

Table 12. Matrix preference ranking of maize varieties in 2 PRA communities.

Arubote/Mathure (Chhoprak #8) Best = 1; Worst = 3

Criteria

Maize varieties


Rampur composite

Khumal Yellow .

Sathiya

Bharati

Khumalt ar

High yield

1

2

3



Early maturity

2

2

1



Taste

2

2

2



No lodging

1

2

3



Diet (Aadhilo)

1

2

1



Less disease

2

2

1



Preferred: Rampur composite because of high yield

Jaisithok (Chhoprak #8) Best = 1; Worst = 3

Taste when cooked



1

3

2

Taste when roasted



1

3

2

Diet (Aadhilo)



1

3

2

High yield



3

1

2

Pest tolerance



1

3

2

Draught tolerance



3

2

1

Proteinous (Takat Dime)



1

3

2

Insect resistance (Gun Nalagne)



2

3

3

Cold (too wet) tolerance



1

2

1

Preferred: Khumaltar due to satisfactory yield and both draught and cold/wet tolerance

3.3.4 Agricultural productivity and trend

The current productivity of various crops was reported in 4 PRA communities, Majhgaon (Chhoprak #7), Arubote/Mathure and Firfire (Chhoprak #8) and Katubanse (Chhoprak #9). Current paddy production ranged from 2-5 Muri/Ropani(9) (2000-5000 kg/ha), maize from 1-3 Muri/Ropani (1360-3720 kg/ha), wheat 1.75-3 Muri/Ropani (2380-4080 kg/ha), blackgram from 0.25-0.75 Mori/Ropani (330-990 kg/ha), millet from 0.25-3 Muri/Ropani (310-3720 kg/ha), potato was reported at 10 Muri/Ropani and niger at 0.26 Muri/Ropani.

9 The muri has a different value for different crops, e.g. 50 kg rice, 68 kg maize, 68 kg wheat, 62 kg millet and 66 kg for grams.

In more than half of the PRA communities, the trend line tool was used to gather information on agricultural productivity (Table 13). The overall productivity of the agricultural crops was reported to be declining in 3 PRA communities, Katarbari (Chhoprak #3), Faudargaon (Chhoprak #5) and Arubote/Mathure (Chhoprak #8). It was reported to be increasing for the past 10-15 years only in Simpani (Ampipal #6), while in Darmichaur (Ampipal #9) and Salbot (Chhoprak #4) yield had been rising about 5-7 years back, but had since declined again and now remain constant. This was also the case in Suntale (Khoplang #1), but yields had stabilized at a higher than previous level.

Maize productivity was reported to be decreasing in 7 PRA communities, Chitre (Chhoprak #1), Katubanse (Chhoprak #9), Nawalpur (Harmi #6), Falamkhani (Khoplang #1), and Belbas, Kolkate and Khurpajung (Khoplang #4). It was reported to be increasing in 2 PRA communities, Ratdanda (Ampipal #5) and Harmi Banjang (Harmi #3).

Wheat productivity was reported to be increasing in 3 PRA communities, Ratdanda (Ampipal #5), Katubanse (Chhoprak #9) and Belbas (Khoplang #4).

Millet productivity was reported to be decreasing in Chitre (Chhoprak #1), Belbas and Khurpajung (Khoplang #4), constant in Kolkate (Khoplang #4), and increasing in Falamkhani (Khoplang #1).

Blackgram productivity was reported to be decreasing in 4 PRA communities, Falamkhani (Khoplang #1), and Belbas, Kolkate and Khurpajung (Khoplang #4).

The area of vegetable production was reported to be increasing in Belbas and Kolkate (Khoplang #4).

The rates of increase or decrease of agricultural crop productivity was only reported in a few cases. Two cases were reported of increasing productivity of rice and wheat: rice harvests increased from 2 Muri/Ropani (2000 kg/ha) to 3.5 Muri/Ropani (3500 kg/ha); while wheat harvests increased from 0.5 Muri/Ropani (680 kg/ha) to 1.25 Muri/Ropani (1700 kg/ha). The reasons for increasing productivity trends mentioned in several PRA communities were: use of chemical fertilizer, use of improved varieties, new wheat varieties enabling off-season irrigated wheat production.

No comparable data were provided for decreasing productivity trends. Reasons for decreasing productivity trends mentioned in a number of PRA communities include: use of old seeds, traditional cultivation methods, lack of compost partly due to a decreasing number of livestock, lack of knowledge on the proper application of chemical fertilizers, and a shortage of agricultural labor due to the increased literacy rate.


Table 13. Trends in agricultural crop productivity.

3.3.5 Diseases and pests in crops

Farmers in 5 PRA communities reported on diseases and pests in their crops, the most common of which were:

1. Paddy diseases Dhaduwa (blight), Maruwa (top die-back) and Beruwa, pest Patero

2. Maize disease Kalopoke, pests Khumrekira (leaf worm). Gun (weevil), Gabaro (stemborer) and Dhamiro.

3. Wheat disease Kalopoke, pests Ankha ma kira, Gun (weevil) and Gabaro (stemborer).

3.3.6 Problems and opportunities

During the transect walks a number of problems in agricultural crop production were identified and opportunities or possible solutions discussed. These have been summarized in Table 14.

Table 14. Problems and opportunities in agricultural crop production.

PRA communities

Problem/weakness

Opportunity/solution

Katubanse (Chhoprak #9), Suntale and Falamkhani (Khoplang #1), Belbas, Kolkate and Khurpajung (Khoplang #4)

*Traditional cultivation methods in Bari land
*Few fruit trees

*Conservation and utilization of water resources for:(i) vegetable production,(ii) improved cultivation, and(iii) expand winter cropping
*Increase plantation of fruit trees
*Organize user group for above action

Darmichaur (Ampipal #9), Amarai (Chhoprak #3), Salbot (Chhoprak #4), Arubote/Mathure (Chhoprak #8) and Harmi Bhanjang (Harmi #3)

*Low proportion of improved paddy varieties (only 15-20% of total area)
*Lack of improved seeds for food crops and vegetables

*Organize farmers group for:(i) arranging improved seeds; and(ii) improved cultivation training.
*Some trained farmers in Salbot (Chhoprak #4) could help

Thumki (Chhoprak #2) and Harmi Bhanjang (Harmi #3)

*Low amount of fruit trees *Inadequate irrigation

*Increase fruit tree plantation
*Increase vegetable cultivation towards seed production for cash earning
*Explore feasibility of better irrigation

Faudargaon (Chhoprak #5) and Jaisithok (Chhoprak #8)

* Decreasing soil fertility
*Lack of irrigation
*Lack of knowledge on proper compost making

*Training for increasing fruit utilization
*Conservation and utilization of water resources
*Training in improved compost making

Ratdanda (Ampipal #5)

* Little utilization of water resources * Low amount of cash crop and vegetable crop
*low amount of fruit trees

*Increase vegetable production by conservation and utilization of water resources
*Increase fruit tree plantation

Firfire (Chhoprak #8)

* 50% of cropland has irrigation but improved cultivation has not been widely adopted
*Marketing constraints in terms of distance to market

*Possibilities of Alainchi (cardamom) and production of other fruits
*Possibility to expand vegetable production

3.4.1 Livestock population and herd composition

Detailed livestock data were collected in 25 PRA sites, including buffalo, cattle, goats and pigs. The very few sheep in the Bhusunde Khola watershed, they were included in the goat counts. Data on livestock numbers per PRA community are presented in Table 1 5. Table 1 6 and Figure 9 include secondary data on numbers of animals per household and per person, based on the data in Table 2 and 15.

Overall, the number of animals per PRA community ranges from 131 in Chiuribot (Chhoprak #1) to 61 5 in Harmi Bhanjang (Harmi #3}. However, the data of numbers of animals per household and per person are more meaningful and within a much shorter range. The herd size per household averages is on average 6.3, and ranges from 4.5 in Belbas (Khoplang #4) to 10.9 in Firifire (Chhoprak #8). The number of animals per person ranges from 0.79 in Nawalpur (Harmi #6) to 1.99 in Firfire (Chhoprak #8).

Buffalo is the most valued animal. It is kept for milk and manure production, and can also be consumed or sold for slaughter. Buffalos are stallfed, and require high amounts of quality fodder, animal bedding material, water and care. There are 2565 buffalos in 25 of the PRA communities. By far the largest number of buffalos, 287, can be found in Ghimiregaon (Harmi #6), which has also the highest ratio of buffalos per family and per person, while there were only 37 buffalos each in Chiuribot (Chhoprak #2) and Katubanse (Chhoprak #9). The number of buffalos per family is on average 1.6, and fluctuates from 0.9 in Katubanse (Chhoprak #9) to 3.6 in Ghimiregaon (Harmi #6). The number of buffalos per person ranges from 0.10 in Katubanse (Chhoprak #9) to 0.56 in Ghimiregaon (Harmi #6).

Cattle are important as draft animals for ploughing (oxen), and for religious purposes. They are seasonally and/or partially stallfed. The are a total of 3119 cattle in 25 of the PRA communities, ranging from 29 in Chiuribot (Chhoprak #1) to 193 in Ghimiregaon. The average number of cattle per household is 2.1, ranging from 1.5 in Ratdanda (Ampipal #5), Harmi Bhanjang (Harmi #3) and Nawalpur (Harmi #6) to 4.1 in Katubanse (Chhoprak #9). The number of cattle per person ranges from 0.24 in Nawalpur (Harmi #6) to 0.52 in Firfire (Chhoprak #8), and averages at 0.35.

Goats are usually free grazing, seasonally controlled. They are kept for meat consumption and sale. There are a total of 4,161 goats in the 25 PRA communities, ranging from 65 in Chiuribot (Chhoprak #1) to 261 in Harmi Bhanjang (Harmi #1). The number of goats per household is on average 2.7, and ranges from 1.3 in Belbas (Khoplang #4) to 5.2 in Firfire (Chhoprak #8). The number of goats per person ranges from 0.26 in Belbas (Khoplang #4) to 0.95 in Firfire (Chhoprak #8), and averages at 0.47.

Pigs are only kept by ceratin caste/ethnic groups, and are relatively rare in the watershed, they can only be found in 4 communities, Darmichaur (Ampipal #9), Jaisithok (Chhoprak #8), Katubanse (Chhoprak #9) and Khurpajung (Khoplang #4). The total number of pigs is 87, 45% of which are in Katubanse (Chhoprak #9). The number of pigs per household is on average 0.1, but in Katubanse (Chhoprak #9) this reaches 0.9. The number of pigs per person is on average 0.01, but in Katubanse (Chhoprak #9) this reaches 0.11.

With regard to herd composition, 42% of the domestic animals are goats, 31 % cattle, 26% buffalos and 1% pigs. Ghimiregaon (Harmi #6) has the largest proportion of buffalos, 40%, and Katubanse (Chhoprak #9) the lowest, 10%. Katubanse (Chhoprak #9) has the largest proportion of cattle, 47%, and Chiuribot (Chhoprak #1), Majhgaon and Bawaligaon (Chhoprak #7) the lowest, 22%. Majhgaon (Chhoprak #7) has the largest proportion of goats, 56%, and Belbas (Khoplang #4) the lowest, 29%. Katubanse has by far the largest proportion of pigs, 11 %, while in 21 of 25 communities there are no pigs at all.


Table 15. Livestock population in 25 PRA communities of the Bhusunde Khola watershed.


Figure 9A. Livestock Animals per household


Figure 9B. Livestock Animals per person


Table 16. Livestock number per household and per person in 25 PRA communities of the Bhusunde Khola watershed.

3.4.2 Trend in animal production

Data on trends in animal production were recorded in 20 PRA communities, though it is not specified whether this concerns animals per community or per household (Table 17). Of these, eight communities only reported on overall animal numbers, while 12 provided details on buffalo, cattle and goats.

In general there was a decline in livestock population for the last 10 years. Cattle were always reported to decline. Buffalos were reported to have increased in two communities, Simpani Hatiya (Ampipal #7) and Belbas (Khoplang #4) and decreased in 10 communities. Goats were reported to have decreased in six communities, first decreased and subsequently increased in three communities, increased in one community, and remained stable also in one community.


Table 17. Trend in livestock numbers in 20 PRA communities of the Bhusunde Khola watershed.

The actual scale of the overall decrease in the livestock population was reported in two communities. In Katubanse (Chhoprak #9) the number of buffalos per household had decreased from an average of 8-9 to 1-2, and the number of cattle had decreased from 7-8 to 2-3 (though the data in Table 16 suggest an average number per household of 4.1 cattle and 0.9 buffalo). In Nawalpur (Harmi #6) the number of animals per household had declined for buffalo from 6 to 2, for cattle from 1 5 to 4, and for goats from 10 to 4 (though Table 16 suggest 1.5 buffalo, 1.5 cattle and 2.0 goats).

In 9 PRA communities the causes of the overall decline in livestock numbers were recorded. These can be summarized as:

(i) Increased settlement areas.

(ii) Decrease in tree fodder and grasses that can be cut and carried.

(iii) Decrease in grazing land, associated with an increase in off-season (winter) cultivation in Bari land, which used to lay fallow during this period.

(iv) Decrease in labor availability, linked to increased school attendance and literacy rates.

(v) Increasing difficulties in keeping large ruminants, with costs rising and decreasing profit.

In the villages where the goat population had increased this was explained by an increasing demand for meat and the sale for cash of goats.

In the villages where the buffalo population had increased this was explained by the increasing importance of milk (see also Figure 10).

In the communities of Majhgaon and Bawaligaon (Chhoprak #7) some prices of livestock and animal products were recorded, see Table 18.

Table 18. Some prices of livestock and animal products (in December 1995).

Animal or product

Unit

Price in Rs.

Cow (milking)

animal

2,500 (+-500)

Oxen (young)

pair of animals

7,000 (+-1,000)

Local buffalo (milking)

animal

5,500 (+-1,500)

Cross breed buffalo (milking)

animal

12,000

Female goat (calving age)

animal

1,500

Castrated buck (for meat)

kg live weight

100

Buffalo bull (for meat)

kg live weight

40

Pigs (for meat)

kg live weight

40

Milk

libre

20

Ghee

kg

200

3.4.3 Fodder and feed

Animals are mainly stallfed, but in winter and spring cattle and goats are usually taken out for grazing of fallow cropland and grazing areas. Paddy straw is the most important fodder and is being fed throughout the year, but primarily from November to mid-June (Kartik to Jestha). Paddy straw is dried and stored for use in the winter and dry season. Fresh cut grasses from terrace risers and bunds, as well as community lands, are fed from June through October (Jestha to Kartik), supplemented with weeding and thinning plant material from the grain crops. Tree fodder is mainly used from mid-November to mid-February (Kartik to Fagun), and to a lesser extent in the month of May (Baisakh to Jestha). During December (Mansir to Poush) dried stovers are also fed.

Concentrates, Kundo, are fed to the oxen before and during the ploughing period from March to July (Baisak to Ashad), and to buffalos during calving in April (Sawan to Badra), and to both buffalos and cattle during the coldest part of the year, from December to February (Mangsir to Faghun).


Figure 10. Seasonal milk production Cross breed and local buffalo, and cow


Table 19. Matrix ranking of fodder tree preferences in 7 communities.

In most of the communities farmers preferred Tanki (Bauhinia variegata) as fodder tree for the following reasons: (a) fast growing; (b) increased milk production; (c) highly palatable; (d) branches also good as fuelwood; and nutritious (Table 19).

3.4.4 Problems and opportunities

During transect walks a number of problems and weaknesses were identified and opportunities and possible solutions discussed. These have been summarized in Table 20.

Table 20. Problems and opportunities in livestock production.

PRA communities

Problem/weakness

Opportunity/solution

Chiuribot and Thumki (Chhoprak #2), Jaisithok and Arubote/Mathure (Chhoprak #8), Suntale (Khoplang #1), Belbas, Kolkate and Khurpajung (Khoplang #4)

*Lack of improved breed
*Lack of technical knowledge of improved livestock management

*Livestock management training *Arrangement to obtain improved Buffalo bulls and bucks

Simpani Hatya (Ampipal #7)

*No stallfeeding, mostly grazing, due to lack of fodder trees

*Plantation of tree species suitable for fodder and fuel on private land

Katubanse (Chhoprak #9)

*No grazing areas
*Low milk production
*Low number of buffalos
*High number of unproductive cattle
*No stallfeeding
*Poor condition of sheds

* Improved livestock management training
*Animal shed management

Chitre (Chhoprak #1), Bawaligaon (Chhoprak #7), Nawalpur and Ghimiregaon (Harmi #6}

*Lack of fodder (tree and grass)
*Straw makes up 95% of feed

*Organize buffalo groups for: (1) fodder trees and grass plantation; (2) milk marketing; (3) animal health worker training
*Increase improved pig and poultry production

Harmi Bhanjang (Harmi #3)

*Lack of improved buffalo bulls *Lack of improved fodder
*Marketing problems

* Obtain improved buffalo
*Potential to increase number of goats with nearby forest
*Form group to market livestock in Ampipal

Falamkhani (Khoplang #1)

*Low milk production
*Lack of fodder trees
*Lack of knowledge on animal diseases

*Increase number of fodder trees on terrace risers and bunds
*Training in animal diseases

3.5.1 Forest types

There are three main forest types in the Bhusunde Khola watershed:

1. Chilaune-Katus (Schima-Castanopsis) forest is the most frequent occurring, it is also associated with tree species such as Baddhairo (Lagerstroemia) and Tindu (Dyspyrus).

2. Sal (Shorea robusta) forest is common on the lower altitudes and north facing slopes around Belbas, Kolkate and Khurpajung (Khoplang #4).

3. Degraded bush-type forest with small trees and shrubs, such as Ghangeri, Angeri, Baddyangro and Khar grass.

The Pie chart tool was exercised in only three communities, Belbas, Kolkate and Khurpajung (Chhoprak #4), to identify the proportion of the different forest types of the total forest of those communities (see Table 21).

Table 21. Proportion of 3 different forest types of total forest of three PRA communities.

PRA community

Proportional representation of three forest types


Chilaune-Katus forest

Sal forest

Degraded-bush

Belbas (Khoplang M)

25%

50%

25%

Kolkate (Khop. #4)

15%

75%

10%

Khurpajung (Khop. #4)

45%

40%

15%

3.5.2 Production and use

Forest patches are protected and managed traditionally. Thinning in Sal forest has recently started.

Natural forests and trees on terrace risers and bunds are the two major sources of fuelwood. Disaggregated information on fuelwood sources have not been collected consistently in the PRAs. The PRA facilitators estimate that about half the fuelwood requirements are met by on-farm resources, and about half by the forest, while kerosene and biogas also are important sources of energy.

In three PRA communities information on energy source were collected. In Ghimiregaon (Harmi #6) up to 95% of the fuelwood requirements were met from on-farm resources, and just 5% from the forest. In Harmi Bhanjang (Harmi #3) 30% of the energy needs were met from biogas, 90% of the remaining 70% (i.e. 63%) of fuel needs was met from the local forest, and the balance (7%) from other on-farm sources. Similarly, in Simpani Hatiya (Ampipal #7), biogas provided 14% of fuel requirements, and fuelwood and kerosene the balance.

In Harmi Bhanjang, Venn diagrams were used to determine the relative importance of different forest products. The result was that farmers gave almost equal weight to fuelwood and fodder/animal bedding material (with a priority for fuelwood), and less importance to timber.

3.5.3 Trends in forests and natural resources

In eight communities the trend line exercise was used for soil erosion. All of these reported increasing soil erosion during recent decades. According to farmers the meaning of the term "soil erosion" was expansion of gullies and increased frequency of land slides and slips.

In twelve communities the trend line exercise was used for the status and quality of the forest for the past 10-20 years. Out of these 12, 4 reported a decreasing trend, Simpani (Ampipal #6), Faudargaon (Chhoprak #5), Bawaligaon (Chhoprak #7) and Harmi Bhanjang (Harmi #3). In 7 other communities, Simpani Hatiya (Ampipal #7), Darmichaur (Ampipal #9), Chitre (Chhoprak #1), Katarbari (Chhoprak #3), Arubote/Mathure (Chhoprak #8), Suntale and Falamkhani (Khoplang #1) decreasing trends were reported upto about 2040 BS (1982), but since then an increasing trend was noted, due to increased awareness of the forest users. In Ratdanda (Ampipal #5) the forest was reported to have remained stable for the past 20-30 years.

3.5.4 Problems and opportunities

During transect walks a number of problems and weaknesses in forests were identified and opportunities and possible solutions discussed. These have been summarized in Table 22.

3.6 Summary of soil and water resources problem areas

A summary of the different problem areas pertaining to soil and water resources is included in Table 23.

Table 22. Summary of problems and opportunities in forests of the Bhusunde Khola watershed.

PRA community

Problem/weakness

Opportunity/solution

Simpani (Ampipal #6), Thumki (Chhoprak #2), Tutunga and Arubote/Mathure (Chhoprak #8)

*Lack of forest
*Lack of fuelwood and fodder

*Explore possibilities of private forest
*Extension activities on improved stoves
*Increase private agro-forestry tree plantation

Ratdanda (Ampipal #5), Simpani Hatiya (Ampipal #7), Faudargaon (Chhoprak #5), Jaisithok (Chhoprak #8) and Khurpajung (Khoplang #4)

*Little forest area
*Poor quality of forest and related problem of fuelwood, fodder and timber

*Enrichment plantation through discussion with user group
*Arrange forest watchman (Heralu)
*Increase private plantation
*Improved management of very small forest patches (Patale ban) in Jaisithok

Firfire (Chhoprak #8) and Harmi Bhanjang (Harmi #3)

*No community forest and no agroforest

*Organize group and discuss forest development
*Increase private plantation

Falamkhani (Khoplang #1)

*Lack of knowledge of improved stoves

*Extension activities on improved stoves

Table 23. Summary of communities with specific soil and water resource problems in the Bhusunde Khola watershed.

PRA communities

Soil and water resource problems

Ratdanda (Amp. #5), Darmichaur (Amp. #9), Chitre (Chhop. #1), Amarai (Chhop. #2), Salbot (Chhop. #4), Faudargaon (Chhop. #5), Tutunga and Firfire (Chhop. #8), Katubanse (Chhop. #9), Harmi Bhanjang (Harmi #3), Ghimiregaon (Harmi #6), Falamkhani (Khop. #4)

Gully and landslide

Simpani (Amp. #6), Nawalpur and Ghimiregaon (Harmi #6), Suntale and Falamkhani (Khop. #1)

Drinking water

Simpani (Amp. #6), Tutunga, Firfire and Arubote/Mathure (Chhop. #8), Ghimiregaon (Harmi #6), Falamkhani (Khop. #1)

Irrigation

Simpani Hatiya (Amp. #7)

Drinking water maintenance

Simpani Hatiya (Amp. #7), Salbot (Chhop. #4), Chitre (Chhop. #1>, Firfire (Chhop. #8), Katubanse (Chhop. #9), Nawalpur (Khop. #6), Kolkate (Khopl. #4)

Trail

Ratdanda (Amp. #5), Simpani Hatiya (Amp. #7), Amarai (Chop. #2}, Majhgaon (Chhop. #7), Belbas, Kolkate and Khurpajung (Khop. #4)

Water source protection

Katubanse (Chhop. #9)

Slides in terraces

Amarai (Chhop. #2}, Belbas (Khop. #4)

Poor quality of irrigation channel

4.1 General outline

The 26 Community Action Plans all follow the same structure. They indicate in the form of a table what the planned activities are, where they should be done within the communities, when they should be done, the number of beneficiary households, what the project should do, what other institutions should do, and what the community should do.

In Table 24 the Majhgaon (Chhoprak #7) CAP is presented as an example. Though only 6 activities are listed in the first column, further analysis of the 5th and 6th columns reveals some hidden activities, notably compost making training, forest management training and study tour, and fodder and forage training. Furthermore, it should be noted that there is a link between the different activities: waste water from protected water source will be used in vegetable production; the forest should be protected and on farm fodder production increased.

It is also important to note that other institutions than the project are expected to be involved in the realization of the CAPs. Most often mentioned are the District Forest Office, Agriculture Office, Livestock Services and Drinking Water Supply Office.

In total the 26 CAPs include 223 separate (but often inter-related) activities, including:

(a) Conservation activities, such as gully and landslide control, forest handover and management, conservation plantation and improved stoves;

(b) Small scale infrastructures, such as water source protection, water catchment ponds, small scale hill irrigation and trail improvement;

(c) Farming systems oriented activities, like livestock breed improvement, plantation of grasses, fodder, fruit, vegetables, nursery, and related training activities;

(d) Income-generating activities, like vegetable and animal production and commercialization; and

(e) Social services, like the construction of community houses, a health center, latrines and adult literacy classes.


Table 24. The 1996 Community Action Plan of Majhgaon (Chhoprak #7).

Ideally, there should be a close link between the results of the PRA and the activities planned. This is not always the case there is often a gap between problems apparent from the PRA data, such as poverty and food insufficiency, and problems ranked in the planning workshops and upon which planned activities are based.

It would seem, that in many villages the activity planning exercises continued to be influenced by the expectations of the local population of the kind of activities the project would (be able to) support, and by the type of activities normally within the scope of the District Soil Conservation Office.

4.2 Planned physical activities

A physical activity is defined here as any activity with a direct physical component, such as construction, planting, providing improved genetic (breeding) material, farming systems improvement, income-generating activities, handing over and management of forest. In fact, this category includes all activities except training and group formation.

A total of 177 physical activities were included in the 26 CAPs (see Table 25). The most popular activity, by far, was water source protection, with 52 sources included in the plans, though it is remarkable that none were planned in Ampipal VDC (maybe because of the presence of UMN community health programs).

Trail improvement, included 24 times, was the second most popular activity. Here it is important to note that trail improvement was most frequently included in the plans by communities living higher up the slopes, such as Chitre (Chhoprak #1).

Small scale hill irrigation was the third most frequently planned activity. It is likely that this activity is strongly limited by actual water resources, otherwise many more communities would have included it in their plans.

Gully and landslide control was mentioned 15 times. It is much more frequently included in the south facing slopes of the watershed.

Forest handover (community forestry) is included 10 times, and conservation plantation 6 times. These plantations are sometimes meant to improve the community forests and sometimes to help stabilize gullies and landslides.

Improvement of buffalo and especially goat was mentioned a number of times. The improved goats would generally be targeted at women and women groups.

Planting trees, fodder, fruit, grasses, bamboo, cardamom, vegetables, etc. is included in many CAPs. Many variations exist, such as planting on private farm land, communal lands, in gullies, forests, along streams, etc.


Table 25. Physical activities of the 1996 Community Action Plans of 26 PRA communities in the Bhusunde Khola watershed.

It is remarkable that none of the CAPs included plans to increase the availability of improved paddy or maize seed, fertilizer, pesticides or other food production enhancing interventions, except for irrigation facilities. It is not clear why this is so, maybe farmers do not realize that crop production is very low (not so likely), or (more likely) that they only see irrigation as a solution upon which all other improvements would depend.

4.3 Planned training activities

A total of 46 different training activities were included in the 26 CAPs, ranging from training in forest management, livestock (husbandry and health), agriculture (fodder, fruit, vegetable, compost, nursery), improved stoves, group formation, adult literacy (especially women), public health, sewing and knitting, and study tours (see Table 26).

Improved stoves training was included 7 times, and adult literacy 5 times. It would seem that in some communities training was not considered, such as in Firfire (Chhoprak #8) and Kolkate (Khoplang #4), while in other communities it was very specifically included, e.g. in Katubanse (Chhoprak #9) and Khurpajung (Khoplang #4).

Training was often not included as a main activity, but as a supporting activity. For instance a CAP may include fruit tree planting as main activity, and subsequently under inputs from other institutions is included "District Agriculture Office should provide technical support and training". Therefore, inclusion of training is often the result of a more detailed activity planning, while the absence of training as specific activity does not mean that those communities would not be interested in training activities.


Table 26. Training activities of the 1966 Community Action Plans of 26 PRA communities in the Bhusunde Khola watershed.

5.1.1 Quality

The quality of the PRA exercises varied with the PRA teams, the experience gained and the attitude of the villagers. However, in general, the quality of the information gathered is not very high. This became especially apparent while preparing this report. Many PRA tools were used in a large number of sites, but information was rarely cross-checked (triangulated), and the recorded data are often incomplete.

However, it is important to recall that the main objective of this PRA was not to gather high quality information, but rather to improve the understanding of the target communities of their own situation and environment, in order to set the stage for a participatory planning of development activities. When this is used as a criterium, the quality of the result seems to be satisfactory, though not excellent (see chapter 5.2).

It has gradually become clear to the project field teams that in a situation where villagers, especially women, have a severe time constraint to attend PRA or other gatherings, it is important to limit PRA exercises to necessary and functional tools. Thus the number of PRA tools and subjects for which they were used gradually decreased. An example is the matrix ranking of preferred food crop varieties or fodder tree species. This kind of quality information is more interesting for the outsider, involved at a higher level in development planning.

The mapping tool, especially the resource mapping has since proven to be essential in follow-up activities, most notably the participatory monitoring and evaluation of the CAPs. Seasonality Diagrams, which give details on the farming calendar and time availability, have proven very useful in detailed planning of activity implementation.

Though water and water use plays a central role in village life and figures prominently in the CAPs, no specific PRA tool was used to analyze water resources, problems and opportunities.

In some villages the PRA exercise seemed to have been unduly influenced by high profile people (local leaders), who acted in an undemocratic way. In such situations a lot depends on the skills of the PRA facilitator. It has subsequently become clear that to avoid situations dominated by one or two strong local leaders, the PRA exercise should focus on small interest groups, thereby giving opportunity to these different groups to express their own views and opinions.

Some of the quality problems of the information gathered in the 26 PRAs could be solved by combining the data from the different sites, which is what was done in this report.

5.1.2 Quantity

The quantity of PRA exercises carried out in a quite short time is impressive. We can safely assume, that never before has PRA and participatory planning been applied at such a scale in soil conservation and watershed management in Nepal. Despite some problems with quality the resulting mass of data provides an important watershed wide data base, that could not have been obtained in any other way.

In this respect, the methodology used, starting from the use of trained project and District Soil Conservation Office staff, and including the relatively short duration of the PRAs, as well as the targeting of small, sub-ward level, communities, has proven to be very successful.

5.2.1 Consistency of PRAs and planned activities

Communities with very low literacy rates, such as Khurpajung (Khoplang #4) set priority to adult literacy classes. Those with important forest resources, such as Kolkate (Khoplang #4) prioritized forest handover and management. Those with little forest resources, such as Tutunga (Chhoprak #8), emphasized fodder and forage production. Communities with a high proportion of the land taken up by gullies, such as Ghimiregaon (Harmi #6) selected gully control. Water use figured high almost everywhere, especially water source protection and irrigation, depending on the actual resource availability.

The activities selected by the communities in their Community Action Plans, is in general very consistent with the results of the PRAs, the large majority of activities selected were based on problem ranking exercises rooted in the PRA(10). The CAPs are in general also very consistent with the mandate of the project and the Department of Soil Conservation. This could mean that the mandate of the DSC fulfills to a large extent the needs of small mountain communities, and/or that the local communities are well aware of the kind of activities the DSC is likely to support, and make sure that these are well represented in the CAPs.

10 There is, however a discrepancy between the problems apparent from the PRA data, such as poverty and food insufficiency, and problems ranked during the planning part of the PRA and Planning proces.

The fact that many communities selected activities that they would have to pay for themselves, such as improved breeding animals and fruit tree saplings, or that would need assistance from other institutions than the project, such as the construction of latrines and a public health center, is proof that these CAPs are truly the communities own plans, rather than a plan to "please" the project.

It should, however, be noted that a number of important problems in the watershed, most notably the food deficit, do not get much specific attention in the PRA and do not or rarely figure in the problem ranking exercises.

5.2.2 Quantity of activities in the caps

As has become clear during the implementation of the CAPs, the quantity of activities included in these was too large for short term implementation. This was due to a lack of participatory planning skills of both the PRA teams (project staff) and the communities.

The PRA teams did not realize the importance of the Seasonality Diagram in that it provides a clear planning tool by indicating when farmers have time available for specific activities.

In the communities involved one can see a certain evolution, whereby communities that had gained more solid previous experience in participatory activity planning and implementation tended to have more realistic plans, such as Majhgaon (Chhoprak #1}. Communities that had not earlier been closely involved in such exercises tended to draw up less realistic plans (wish lists), such as Salbot (Chhoprak #4). In such cases, the local resources available to implement specified activities, for instance labour, are far short of actual requirements.

6.1 Participatory monitoring and evaluation

The Community Action Plans were being implemented in 1 996 and partly in 1 997. The activities described in the CAPs need to be monitored and evaluated. Participatory evaluation and re-planning has already taken place in several sites during October-December 1996. It appeared that some of the tools used during the original PRA, most notable the Resource Maps, were essential in conducting a meaningful participatory monitoring and evaluation exercise, while the Seasonality Diagram was essential in detailed and realistic planning of activities implementation. It is therefore recommended to carry out the initial PRA in such a way that specific tools can be earmarked for later use in such monitoring, evaluation and re-planning.

6.2 Participatory appraisal and planning in other watersheds

The 1995/96 Bhusunde Khola watershed wide PRA exercise was successful though also very strainful. Such participatory planning methods will be replicated in the Maudi Khola watershed, albeit somewhat amended. Proposed amendments include:

1. A stronger focus from the first PRA on actual user groups, this will make the CAP stronger and more realistic, and will also avoid undue dominance by one or two influential personalities in each target community. There could still be a role for community or even ward level committees, if they function as a forum in which actual user groups are represented.

2. To try and limit the number of PRAs and resulting CAPs so that the actual workload that is likely to result (i.e. number of irrigation schemes, etc.), can actually be handled by the project/DSCO in terms of staff requirements and implementation budget.

3. To develop and include particular PRA tools targeted at an assessment of local water resources, utilization, problems and opportunities.

4. To have a longer time interval between the actual PRA and the Participatory Planning exercises. This would be less strainfull on villager time, would permit better analysis of PRA data, and provides communities and user groups more time to reflect upon their actual problems and what kind of activities should be prioritized for inclusion in the CAPs. During this time attention can be focussed on the strengthening of user groups.

5. Participatory feasability studies of proposed activities should be conducted before making the final CAPs and writing up in a community forum WHO SHOULD DO WHAT. Once this "who should do what" is part of the plan the concerned party has made a commitment to accomplish it.